A History of Sino-American Relations

A History of Sino-American Relations

The following lecture was delivered at Spring Arbor University, October 2023. There is hardly anything more important to the future of the world than Sino-American relations. And that’s quite a thing to say when looking at the state of the world these days. But over the long-haul these, the two largest economies, militaries, and navies on earth must find some way to coexist, or else there is going to be trouble for everyone. The aim of this talk is to outline the course of Sino-American relations. As I presume most everyone here is generally familiar with the history of the United States, my...

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China’s Territorial Disputes Don’t Add Up to Rampant Expansionism

China’s Territorial Disputes Don’t Add Up to Rampant Expansionism

Having covered China’s ongoing territorial dispute with the Philippines last week, further details of China’s existing, and settled, territorial disputes seemed in order. For not only has Washington explicitly committed Americans to fight and die over several of these disputes, as in the cases of the Philippines and Japan, but understanding their wider context does much to inform and dispel the fake China threat narrative of a red wave poised to wash mercilessly over its weaker neighbors. We’ll start with Japan. Like the dispute between China and the Philippines over the Spratly Islands or...

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What the Heck is a ‘Scarborough Shoal’…?

What the Heck is a ‘Scarborough Shoal’…?

News from Southeast Asia this morning was that the Joe Biden administration was again rattling its saber over incidents between the Philippines and China in the South China Sea. At issue are some spits of sand thousands of miles from the United States. Just as a refresher for those Americans who, rightly, have no idea what or where the Scarborough or Second Thomas Shoal are (so irrelevant are they to American prosperity or security)... The origins of the dispute between China and the Philippines over these miniscule spits of land in the South China Sea are based on conflicting claims over...

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Republican Solutions Would Destabilize Central America, Not Fix It

Republican Solutions Would Destabilize Central America, Not Fix It

Watching the Republican Party presidential debates has been surreal in many ways. Apart from the awkward spectacle of Mike Pence and Chris Christie acting like they have a chance at the Oval Office, perhaps nothing has been more confounding than the new, hottest idea: bombing and invading Mexico to solve the drug crisis. And it gets better! Because while they’re at it, the military will solve the migrant crisis, too. This really is baffling. Except for those monied interests who benefit from its continued fighting, the drug war has been a total failure. Pick any metric you like. So, too, but...

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The Fed Is Steering Us Towards Bankruptcy

The Fed Is Steering Us Towards Bankruptcy

For all that the corporate press does to paint the Federal Reserve as adroitly steering the monetary ship of state, one has only to look at the Fed’s actual words to know that however much they may be steering the ship, they have no idea where they are going. As evidence, consider the following selection of some of the Fed’s most prominent pronouncements over the past 36 months. March 2020: We won’t have inflation. January 2021: The inflation is “transitory.” September 2021: Rates won’t rise until 2024. November 2021: Inflation may not be “transitory.” November 2021: Rates will rise in 2022....

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It’s the Inflation, Stupid!

It’s the Inflation, Stupid!

At the beginning of last year, economist Paul Krugman wondered aloud whether Americans would even notice if the economy improved. In his considered opinion, it was already obvious that the economy was humming along merrily and that ordinary shmucks just didn’t get it. Fast forward to this past week, and Krugman was beating the same drum, puzzling why it was that Americans just didn’t appreciate how great the economy was doing. Pointing to a complex interplay of wage growth, consumer confidence, unemployment, household spending, GDP growth, and a host of other metrics, Krugman reached for the...

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Yeah, It Was (Mostly) the Fed’s Fault

Yeah, It Was (Mostly) the Fed’s Fault

A not uncommon reaction from central bank defenders in response to criticism is some form of an apology, arguing a lesser of two evils choice. Posing a counterfactual, they present a scenario, say the East Asian Crisis or subsequent Subprime Crisis, which it is then argued would have been much worse but for the interventions of the Federal Reserve. “Think how bad it would’ve been had the Fed not been there!” In fact, in virtually every case, one finds the Federal Reserve at or near the root cause(s) of the problem at hand. And though a complete catalog of all the Federal Reserve’s errors is...

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Hong Kong Was Always Doomed to Be Under Beijing’s Thumb

Hong Kong Was Always Doomed to Be Under Beijing’s Thumb

On midnight July 1, 1997 a century and a half of British colonial dominion was brought to an end with the handover of Hong Kong to the People’s Republic of China (hereafter PRC). This was in accordance with the 1984 Sino-British Declaration. That treaty, which had been worked out between British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and Chinese Communist Party (CCP) Chairman Deng Xiaoping, was to have secured Hong Kong’s relationship with Beijing on the basis of “One Country, Two Systems"—that is, the assurance of Hong Kong’s relative autonomy on certain economic and political matters for at...

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